Side by Side: The Monk Strap
Once reserved for the formal calendars of the trendsetting elite, the monk strap became a pop culture phenomenon the moment James Bond paired the slick kick with a dapper suit, declaring it part of his signature style without saying a word. Aspiring sartorialists adopted the shoe as an emblem of refined taste – despite its humble beginnings as a working shoe for monks when their sandals just couldn’t cut it. What the men of the cloth invented out of practicality, the secular set transformed into a coveted symbol of aspirational style.
These days, street style aficionados have taken over where Bond left off, establishing the monk strap’s new identity as one of the most versatile on trend dress shoes of the moment. To get the most out of your monks, invest in a black pair with two straps for detail that pops below the hem line of your pants. Sure, you can wear your double-buckled gems with a tux, but the following two looks — one casual and one formal — are proof that the monk strap adds so much unique style to almost any look, you’ll want to leave the bowtie at home.
Look 1: Saturday Afternoon First Date
There’s a lot to be said for a guy who’s mastered the art of looking ready for whatever comes next. There’s no better place to flex your one-style-goes-everywhere style than on a first date. Why let your style dictate the limits of what happens next? A sharp pair of cuffed slim-fit pants in burgundy let’s you rock one of fall/winter 2014′s most cutting-edge colours for gents while still looking casual-cool. Opt for grey socks that fall just shy of the pants’ hemline. Secure a skinny tie around the collar of a white dress shirt, and top off the look with a fully buttoned black cardigan and a newsboy cap. The mix of casual and formal wear takes the best sartorial elements of the Ivy League preppy and the rock n’ roll rebel and creates a look that’s nothing short of next level.
Look 2: Company Holiday Party
Sure, you could wear a tux, but the double monk strap can add sophisticated edge to a grey suit, so much so that you can leave the tie at home. Opt for a dress shirt in a slightly darker hue than the suit for a monochrome-inspired ensemble. Make sure to wear grey socks to up the tonal appeal of the look. It’s also a great way to show off the design elements of the monk strap, since the black will boldly standout against the grey. As it turns out, even the grey suit can get make for radical, trendsetting fashion when it steps out of its usual mold and dares to stand out against the black tie masses.